Josh Pyke Brings an Injection of Warming Nostalgia Into the Hearts of Adoring Perth Crowd
You can’t get much closer to the sound of summer in Australia than Josh Pyke. There are others, but no one comes quite as close as JP to hitting that quintessential salt and sand soundscape. His lyrics are personal to him, but they also tell a story shared by many Australians. Albums like Chimney’s Afire and Memories & Dust, through powerful imagery, spin nostalgic tales of summer by the beach, reminiscing on love and loss, family and the journey of life. We can all hitch a ride on at least one of these themes, but it’s the honesty and an instant sense of familiarity with his music that makes that ride so intensely personal for everyone experiencing it. JP’s songs have become more than just songs. They are memories, emotions, feelings; all tied up in beautifully simple and yet incredibly meaningful musical packages.
Josh Pyke played to a sold-out crowd at Capitol on Saturday night, announcing that it was “goodbye for now”; his last show in Perth and his last tour for at least several years. In fact, after a few more dates in Australia and overseas, he’s going on a hiatus from music altogether, taking what he called a “well-deserved break."
The crowd at Capitol were acutely aware that this would be their last chance in a while to catch JP live, and took every opportunity to get lost in the music; often singing along in full chorus, and deafly quiet in the appropriate moments. It was a crowd of young and old, all there to see a musician who had undoubtedly struck a special chord at some point in each person’s life, and been the song to many a memory; such is the power of Josh’s music.
The vibe was electric, and yet beautifully relaxed and warm. I saw no mobile phones, not even to take photos; everyone was completely immersed in the magic. Josh told funny personal stories between songs, and connected with the audience, creating the feeling that one was amongst friends, in Josh’s backyard, hanging out and sharing something special.
Josh played his album Memories & Dust in its entirety as his first set. This was the album that launched him into the spotlight ten years ago, and it's full of songs that are still as special and poignant today, such as “Middle of the Hill”, “Sew My Name” and “Vibrations in Air”. These were crowd favourites, everyone singing along as one, sharing the moment.
After a quick five-minute break Josh and band were back out for a second set of his hits spanning all five studio albums, including brand new songs from his Best Of album released this year. Before he departed the stage, Josh thanked his fans for attending his shows, saying that it has kept him going all these years. Even after ten-plus years as a well-known Australian artist, he still seems incredibly humble and genuinely surprised that he’s up on stage playing his music for people. I think audiences appreciate that, and his fans on Saturday meandered out of the venue and into the night with a warm and fuzzy feeling, comfortable in the knowledge that whilst JP might be taking a break, his music will live on to be the soundtrack for memories past, present and future.